Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Number one on the no-fly list

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



tiny humans

selective breeding for petite-ness
  (+15, -7)(+15, -7)
(+15, -7)
  [vote for,

Humans should use selective breeding to reduce our size. With modern technology, we really don't need to be as large as we are. Tiny humans would have less impact on the planet. Probably make space travel easier, too!
mrthingy, Aug 25 2000

it's actually happening http://www.courierm...ck8la-1226074259701
[mrthingy, Sep 09 2011]

same idea 13 years later Next generation downsize
with interesting discussion so left there [pashute, Jul 02 2013]

baked as the theme of a movie https://www.youtube...watch?v=UCrBICYM0yM
although not to breed smaller babies but to somehow immediately become smaller [pashute, Jan 28 2018]


       If implementable (I don't think it is), it wouldn't do too much. We might reduce the average mass of a human by half, but there are still requirements that can't really be easily miniaturized biologically (I'm assuming you intend to keep the brain at approximately the same size and complexity), and I don't think this would reduce the ecological footprint by very much.
bookworm, Aug 25 2000

       Size tends to be related to climate, the colder the clime, the larger the body - more thermal mass, and lower surface to mass ratio leading to greater heat retention. The opposite tending to occur in warmer climes where the ration is reversed leading to better cooling. This occurs through selection, and is just a general rule. Hence Nordic types and Mongolians tend to be large bodied (males at least) while Samoans certain African tribes seem to just prefer large bodies.   

       Brain size is less critical than neural density and cortical corrugation, the density of the folds in the Cereberal cortex, the outer layer of the brain, increasing surface area.   

       Thus there is no basis for the Iranian decree during the Iran-Iraq war that women could serve, since their brains were smaller than men and they were therefore no great loss, or craniometry in terms of size. Stephen J. Gould treats the subject exaustively in "The Mismeasure of Man".   

       Concerning rescources, a smaller body does require fewer calories, although much has to do with the efficiency of calorie use. Successful Tri-athletes and other endurance sports athletes are often tall, but tend to be ectomorphic rather than mesomorphic, and some studies show that etcomorphs tend to be more psychologically tenacious in survival situations.   

       Concerning space travel, I have wondered whether the greater bone density, and lower body fat ratio of the negriod physiology might prove advantageous in an extended zero-gravity environment.   

       The downside is that short people got tiny noses, tiny eyes, they walk all around tellin great big lies...
Scott_D, Aug 26 2000

       There is the obvious down-side to this whole idea, which is that most people are attracted to tall people. Tiny people are not likely to result from normal procreation... this would have to be an ethically ambiguous "playing god" endeavor.   

       Nevertheless, the thought of miniature doll-sized people is really riviting! and from a breeding perspective, I don't know that I believe degroof's suggestion that there's a 40-lb. lower limit. I'm thinking "tea cup kids" and peguin-sized adults...
danrue, Aug 29 2000

       I'm not sure I understand bookworm's concern about the brain. Surely, little people are not less intelligent than average sized people. (Brain to body mass ratios would stay the same.) And yes, reducing the average mass of a human by half would significantly reduce our impact on the planet. We would require much less food and water, for example, roads and buildings could be much smaller, more of us could fit on buses and airliners, and so on. If implemented (not sure how; only allowing those shorter than average to reproduce, I guess), it wouldn't take long to reverse many of the "taller is better" notions.
mrthingy, Aug 29 2000

       Kurt Vonnegut used this as a subplot in his novel _Slapstick_. In the story, it's China's ultimate solution to overpopulation. The idea is carried to progressively greater absurdity as the book goes on. At one point, a crowd of three-foot-tall Chinese people are seen; later, the main character meets with a Chinese ambassador who's 6 inches tall (and it's stated that that's unusally large by then, but as an ambassador, he needs to be big enough to interact with foreigners.) By the end of the book, it's discovered that a mysterious plague that had hit America was caused by inhaling microscopic Chinese people.
baf, Nov 05 2000

       Predation often pressures a species to become smaller. So we just need a predator...
protean, Mar 19 2001

       "Short people got no reason to live..."
phoenix, Aug 13 2001

       once upon a time there was a little little man that had a giant erection. so he went to the gynecologist. doc, he said; I have a major problem: whenever I see a nice lady I fall forwards
unstable, Aug 22 2001

       Baked. Me. I'm 5 foot tall 92 lb. I live on about 1200 calories a day and if I'm with one of my friends who's the same size we can share a chair comfortably. I'm all for more tiny people. Esp cute short boys!
futurebird, Aug 22 2001

       Just because smallish people EXIST doesn't mean the idea's baked. I'm talking about significantly reducing the average size of our species.
mrthingy, Aug 24 2001

       We're not at the top of the food chain because of our SIZE. We'd still have bloody huge guns. Plus we're only talking about diminishing the species by half, or so. Ants do not tower over children and midgets. And your clause about an air raid siren is simply nonsensical.
mrthingy, Sep 28 2001

       This has got to be the stupidest idea I have seen on this sight. First of all don't we want something now. not a plan that will take effect for our great-grandchildrens grandchildren? Think about it. If we really took serious this idea there would first have to be massive planning, and DNA testing, which would fire up the many different activist groups. Then if we did firgure a way to genetically drop the size of the human race significantly enough to cause an impact, we would either all be dead, or be ruled over by the few people who didn't want to go through with the idea and are now pushing us all around. But even if the entire human race went along with it, by the time we were small enough to make it efficiant there would have been so much reproduction in the meantime that we would still have the same human mass on earth.
Drache, Nov 19 2001

       'This has got to be the stupidest idea I have seen on this sight' (sic). You can't have been here long. Keep looking.
angel, Nov 20 2001

       It is not a stupid idea at all.
pashute, Oct 21 2002

       Expect to see an increase of tall subjects on "upskirt" voyeur sites.... and fewer "slam dunk" competitions.
X2Entendre, Dec 28 2002

       We can start the short-people genetics off with a fantastic start: Swedes. In addition to being culturally superior to americans (= more relaxed to sexuality), they eat a lot less. My silverware from Ikea is *tiny* -- the fork looks like it's from a (large) dollhouse, and the spoons are only for stirring coffee.
shavenwarthog, Dec 29 2002

       This could solve housing shortages too.   

       <napkin calculations>
In most buildings, a storey is ten feet tall - 7' 6" of room, and 2' 6" of girders, ducts, etc.

       A 6' 4" person (me) therefore has 14 inches of space above my head, which is quite comfortable. High enough not to feel cramped, low enough to change light bulbs and put up Christmas decorations.   

       Halve me, and my 3' 2" frame would, I guess, be comfy with a 3' 9" ceiling. Add the required 2' 6" of structural whatnot, and we're down to 6' 3" per storey.   

       Any building over 200', as I recall, needs special permits etc cos it's a danger to aircraft. Our formerly twenty storey, 200' block of flats is now a 32-storey building, and now houses 60% more people.
</napkin calculations>

       Hurrah! Croissant. We need more long-term ideas, and this is a pleasingly compact corker.
friendlyfire, Dec 29 2002

       Could be, UB - I'll trust your judgement over my own, frankly. In which case , 200' will fit 30 stories, which is still a big improvement.   

       [anno] When I was picturing a ceiling in my head, I was thinking of my parent's house, which I can touch without going on tiptoes. Looking up at the ceiling here at work, though, I'm sure you're right. My sums are wrong, but my point is solid.
friendlyfire, Dec 29 2002

       OK,why would you want people to be portable? I mean, come on! I'm proud of my size and would like to keep it!
sailormoonfan, Jan 25 2003

       Read the idea. YOU wouldn't be made smaller. The human race would become smaller over many generations. The advantages are in the annotation. BTW, size is not an accomplishment, it's an accident of genetics and therefore nothing to be proud (or ashamed) of.
mrthingy, Jan 30 2003

       I wouldn't fancy taking my doberman for a walk........and think how big (relatively speaking) tarantulas would be.
Sir Jekyll Shave, Jan 30 2003

       I'm not talking THAT small. But even so, you could just blow the tarantula to pieces with your bazooka.
mrthingy, Jan 30 2003

       // and little farm animals   

       Try bigger farm animals. When the petrol runs out and about the same time tiny humans becomes feasible:- dad will still be able to bundle everyone on the family mule and head to the ski slopes. And at the slopes a single elephant will host skiers to the top of the mountain. Not to mention the single saint bernard that can groom the whole ski field.   

       Perhaps we should just grow bigger horses (oh the ecology!)
madness, Jan 30 2003

       I can see a human version of the SUV vs Econo car battle coming. Sure, some people will want to genetically engineer their kids to be smaller to take up less resources. But then you have the people who would rather make their kids bigger so that they could beat up your kids. Pretty soon the world is filled with mean giants and we all run out of food.
mgangemi, Jan 31 2003

       Space is very,very,very large. The Earth is not a small place - Why reduce size again? - blending better into nature would have more far reaching consequencies.
wjt, May 04 2003

       <Space is very,very,very large.>   

       So? How is that relevant?   

       <The Earth is not a small place>   

       It's not so much space that's the issue, but limited arable land and pollution/destruction of natural habitat.   

       <Why reduce size again?>   

       What do you mean, again? When has this ever occured?
mrthingy, Jul 11 2003

       Plausible theory, thingy. Socially responsible too. I also like it 'cause I'm "half way" there (5'3").   

       [shavenwarthog - awful name BTW] How right you are! The swedes also have (actually had) the best economic system that I've come across. Old Swedish values rule.   

       [po] Good link. [Jerami] Ditto.
thecat, Jul 11 2003

       I don't quite understand this talk of large folk bullying the midgets. Unless we suddenly start measuring the abilities and rights of the individual on the outcome of playground scraps I don't think it has any relevance.   

       The idea is compelling but I find it very difficult to imagine a concerted global effort to genetically swerve toward the smaller human unless some kind of major political event forced us into it. A Hitleresque midget dictator, having somehow conquered every super power in the world, hankers after a master race with an average height of three feet and imposes his own genetic demands upon an oppressed populace in order to realise his dream. Otherwise how would the logistics of such a huge undertaking be monitored and upheld?   

       //Danrue- most people are attracted to tall people//   

       Not true. *Some* people are attracted to tall people. Some people are attracted to fat people, skinny people, short people etc. etc. (don't use western media projections to judge the tastes of a global community- and we are talking a world wide change here) However, I do subscribe to the sentiment. You can't tell people who they should and who they should not procreate with unless you put a gun to their head or brainwash them. Genetic manipulation would be the only other option and I thought this website had outlawed genetic modification ideas.
Nickynackynoo, Jul 11 2003

       NNN - "outlawed" -- step back into the light. You can do it. Don't let them bring you over to the dark side.
thecat, Jul 11 2003

       GNnNeuh, can't reach my keyboard! don't you think we would have significant problems in adapting to the world we have already created or do you really intend to erase and rebuild everything for each generation.   

       I would certainly create an amusement park with your midgets and cash on them. As for our impact on earth, turn your air conditionner off, buy a tiny car and turn your computer off (will prevent you from writing such an amount of bullshit).
cosmocrator, Aug 29 2003

       //most people are attracted to tall people//   

       Hope this isn't true. I'm 5' 2". Does this mean I'm a genetic dead end and I shouldn't reproduce? Does my partner have some kind of abnormal and unhealthy fetish about short people?
hazel, Aug 29 2003

       no, he doesn't, shortie.
jonthegeologist, Aug 29 2003

       My friend has a somewhat racist theory that Asians will breed down to the size of airborne particles and we will someday accidentally breathe them.   

       BTW, short girls are cutest!
jivetalkinrobot, Aug 29 2003

       This could be precisely what the global economy needs. Throughout the change we will need to repeatedly replace household goods as well as households themselves. Downsizing will re-emerge as a buzzword, but it will refer to the hottest market since dot.com.
BeeBee, Aug 29 2003

       I've heard something similar to this and it was truly a half baked idea. Except they weren't trying to make smaller people, they were trying to make whiter people, "they" being nazi's... they thought it'd make things easier too
gorillatron_9000, Nov 10 2003

       How tiny exactly?
Mistress Bling, Nov 10 2003

       <Smaller creatures take up less resources, sure, but the population will be larger.>   

       How do you figure that?   

       <And what about rebuilding/modifying houses, buildings, counters, fridgerators, everyday devices to fit the size of these tiny humans? And for rebuilding/modifying you need tools, new modified midget tools. Small humans aren't going to be able to operate normal sized human tools. The resources spent on on adjusting everything we use to accomodate our size, then upgrade it as we always seem to do seems like it would be a waste.>   

       It would be gradual, not all at once. Many of the tools would be replaced through attrition.   

       <And how would you go about breeding shortness into humans? By simpy breeding those who seem to have a shorter stature together? >   

mrthingy, Dec 18 2003

       ...in the wine... </Don Ho>
ato_de, Nov 07 2004

       >Size tends to be related to climate, the colder the clime, the larger the body Why the human giants of Kenya and Rhodos? Why the hippopotamus?
pashute, Jan 28 2018

       Wouldn't it be easier to just build larger buildings, and all pretend to be tiny?
Wrongfellow, Jan 28 2018

       That's happened with cars, especially in America where everything is big, vulgar, inefficient and dated. It's now commonplace to see a tiny pin-headed person wrestling to control a monstrous metal gasoline guzzling behemoth, containing a single snow-flake child, being driven 200 yards down the road to school. The UK is not far behind in this giant ugly car trend.
xenzag, Jan 28 2018

       You make it sound like it's a recent thing. Big ugly cars (currently "SUV's", previously "minivans") have been around awhile.
FlyingToaster, Jan 28 2018

       It's gotten worse. Look at the 'Mini' as the perfect example. Instead of miniature engineering elegance, it's now a huge bloated clunker, with tractor sized wheels.
xenzag, Jan 28 2018

       What, the 4door ? It's cute : the design cues differentiate it from the rest of the SUV crop ; the 2dr's are still small, though.   

       Or, you could look at the Ford Ranger... originally a small pickup, then a medium-small pickup, now after an 8 year hiatus, they're sticking the name on some medium-full sized jellybean.
FlyingToaster, Jan 28 2018

       Yes, the nu-Mini is small; until you compare it to the small elegance of the Original Mini. (I know, modern safety requirements etc demanded the extra size...)   

       Once upon a time, there was a class of car called a Small Car (well, there still is, but...). Over time, the size of a Small Car grew so big, that a new class was introduced: the Compact Car. As before, the Compact Car type grew bigger, so now we also have Sub-Compact cars. It's all a bit ridiculous, really.
neutrinos_shadow, Jan 28 2018


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle